Motor yacht Comfortably Numb

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Comfortably Numb
Credit: Phil Blake/IGY Marinas

From the first explorer yachts to boats approved by NASA: how CRN is blazing a trail in design

28 September 2023 • Written by Hannah Rankine for CRN Yachts

For six decades, CRN has been at the forefront of the luxury yachting industry, shaping the nautical world with its innovations, sublime design and build quality, and dedication to craftsmanship. Founded in 1963, the Ancona-based yard—specialised in producing fully custom yachts of up to 90 metres—has never been afraid of pushing the boundaries, and its wide-ranging portfolio, along with its collaboration with some of the world’s top international yacht designers, is a testament to that.

As we celebrate CRN's remarkable 60-year journey, BOAT International reflects on the brand's noteworthy yachts that have shaped the industry on a global scale.

Credit: CRN Yachts

1960s-1970s: A pioneer in steel and aluminium yachts

From the very beginning, CRN embraced an innovative approach, seeking to give expression to each owner's unique vision through avant-garde design solutions that transcend the limits of space and materials. A bold move was transitioning from wood to steel-and-aluminium superstructures in 1963. Yacht owners quickly recognised the superior durability of CRN vessels, solidifying the shipyard's reputation within the industry.

By the late 1960s, CRN yachts ranged from 15 to 20 metres in length, sporting an instantly recognisable design. In a very prolific start, 32 boats were designed and built by the shipyard in less than a decade. Honourable mention goes to the 38.4-metre steel and aluminium Bagheera (now named Mar)—the yard’s first leisure yacht over 38 metres launched in 1969.

Credit: CRN Yachts

1980s: Ground-breaking superyachts and interior enhancements

In 1983, CRN celebrated a marvellous achievement with 32.8-metre F100—the first explorer yacht in the leisure yachting market built for the former president of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli. Designed and built in collaboration with Gerhard Gilgenast, this ground-breaking vessel not only reimagined life on board but also introduced the concept of floating ballasts on rubber and anticipated the active noise cancellation technology—a type of soundproofing—which was developed 20 years later. A design ahead of its time, F100 showcased CRN's collaboration with a team of NASA experts. Together, they developed anti-vibration plates for an iron structure, effectively minimising engine vibrations and creating a bubble of interior soundproofing. The yacht also features a night-time electric generator, enabling silent sailing experiences, and the upper deck can also be used to land a helicopter—a first for yachts in this size bracket at the time.

Credit: CRN Yachts

Designed in 1986 by the renowned Terence Disdale, 65-metre Il Vagabondo showcases a blend of traditional and innovative features. Notably, the yacht introduced the inclusion of interior lifts, elevating the onboard experience to new heights. Interestingly, this masterpiece holds another significant distinction—it was the final yacht constructed using CRN's historic Plotting Room, a vital tool in yacht construction before the advent of computer-aided design. The painstaking process of manually drawing the hull at a 1:1 scale on the floor demanded immense precision and expertise. The meticulous placement of flexible plywood templates ensured that the subsequent construction proceeded flawlessly.

Moreover, in the 1980s, CRN began collaborating with prestigious international design names, such as yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, with whom the shipyard designed and built the 42.8-metre Varmar (now named Tyndareo) in 1982—the first of three superyachts for a family of Greek yacht owners.

Varmar (now named Tyndareo)
Credit: CRN Yachts

The year 1988 saw the birth of Azzurra (now named Azzurra II), a 47.5-metre steel and aluminium yacht. Developed in collaboration with Gerhard Gilgenast, with interiors by US designer Paola Smith, Azzurra introduced the concept of full-height windows. Not only did this flood the interiors with natural light but they also established a constant dialogue between indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a visually expansive environment.

Credit: CRN Yachts

1990s-2000s: Pushing the boundaries of yacht design

Building on this success, CRN introduced the Studio Scanu- and François Zuretti-designed 49.7-metre Pestifer (now named Aqua Mare) in 1998 and the 61.5-metre Numptia (now named Katharine) in 2000, a masterpiece that garnered worldwide acclaim. With interior design by Francois Zuretti and Roland Cotter-Kroboth, Numptia also showcased CRN's striking rounded stern, marking a significant milestone in yacht design. This transformative period saw CRN's Ancona shipyard emerge as one of Europe's largest superyacht hubs, with the launch of the 46-metre Magnifica (now named Cacique) in 2001 a resounding success.

Ability (now named Alouette II)
Credit: CRN Yachts

CRN introduced several iconic features that have become synonymous with the brand. The famous “difference in height” bow design, present in early CRN yachts, established the shipyard's identity. Later, CRN introduced the concept of the “open stern” with 54.1-metre Ability (now named Alouette II) in 2006. This innovative design, penned by Zuccon International Project, allowed owners to have an immersive connection with the sea, defying the conventional limitations of large yachts, and created a serene space that incorporates wellness and fitness overlooking the water's edge.

CRN's commitment to enhancing the onboard experience extended to the development of exclusive spaces with a balcony or an open terrace. The balcony, equipped with armchairs and a coffee table, offers the opportunity to enjoy a sea view while sailing. Similarly, the open terrace in the owner's suite or VIP cabins provides private areas for relaxation. These innovative spaces, first introduced on Ability and the 54.2-metre Zuccon International Project-designed Maraya in 2007, respectively became highly sought-after features for CRN's discerning clientele.

Folding balcony on board Maraya
Credit: CRN Yachts

2010s: Technological advancements and brilliant naval engineering

In 2012, CRN introduced an extraordinary solution on 60-metre J'Ade (now named Odyssey). The yacht features a floodable garage, which ingeniously transformed a technical area into an open-air living space for owners and guests. With hydraulic operation and an inner basin that fills with water, the garage facilitates easy entry and exit of tenders without the need for a crane. The floodable garage seamlessly blends into the beach club, creating a pleasant and relaxing area for swimming.

Floating tender garage on board J'Ade (now named Odyssey)
Credit: CRN Yachts

In 2013, CRN achieved a monumental milestone with the delivery of 80-metre Chopi Chopi, the largest superyacht ever built in the shipyard's history at the time. Alongside this bespoke family vessel, CRN introduced MyConcierge, an industry-leading staff call system. With an iPad Mini in each guest cabin, this technique allows direct interaction with the crew and access to numerous services and functions. The advanced home automation technology extended to every element of the yacht, enabling remote control of curtains, lights, TV and air conditioning. With interior design by Laura Sessa Studio, Chopi Chopi set the stage for the technological comforts that are now considered indispensable.

Studio terrace on board Chopi Chopi
Credit: CRN Yachts

In 2015, CRN presented Atlante, a 55-metre that showcased exceptional naval and exterior design by Nuvolari Lenard, and interior design by Gilles & Boissier. The project introduced a cutting-edge, innovative full-beam area on the aft main deck, transforming from a tender garage into a versatile living space during the day. The area could be converted into a cinema room or a large open-air space for any moment of the day for parties and events.

Full-beam multipurpose area on the aft main deck of Atlante
Credit: CRN Yachts

2020s and beyond: Custom designs unique to every owner

Three yachts emerged in 2022, starting with 62-metre Rio. A perfect blend of creative inspiration and tailored quality, her striking sporty persona is portrayed through the sharp, fluid hull lines and near vertical bow. This custom yacht showcases the brand’s capability of creating unique onboard experiences in the strategic layout of large, seamless internal and external living areas.

Credit: CRN Yachts

Then came Ciao (now named Private GG), a 52-metre all-aluminium opus with a strong convivial spirit and an emphasis on al fresco living, where the outdoor areas are seamlessly connected to the interiors by Massari Design.

In 2022, CRN's commitment to research and development culminated in the delivery of the 60-metre Comfortably Numb—a combination of a bespoke approach and brilliant naval engineering, entirely in aluminium. CRN designed the naval architecture and built her in collaboration with Nuvolari Lenard. To ensure extraordinary performance, the vessel was fitted with a large engine room without compromising on large living spaces for the owner, guests and crew. A supreme example of CRN's innovative design solutions, the yacht has a modest enough draft to cruise in the shallow waters of the Caribbean, courtesy of her in-line propellers made to superlative standards of design-and-build excellence.

Comfortably Numb
Credit: Phil Blake/IGY Marinas

Currently among the four CRN projects under construction is the CRN 144. At 85 metres, this fully customised vessel marks a new LOA milestone for the shipyard, whose yachts have proved to be supreme examples of engineering and design quality for 60 years.

To find out more about CRN’s yachts currently under construction, contact the team today.

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